Survive the Everfree

by DarkStarWolf53

The Mission

In the Lunar Guard barracks, a large, all-black bat pony mare with a nightshade flower cutie mark is talking to a much smaller, blank-flanked, gray bat pony filly with a short black mane and tail.

"Tonight is the night, little Noctis," says the adult mare, the current captain of the Lunar Guard and named Nightshade. "Her Royal Highness Princess Luna has decided you are ready for your final test, my apprentice. If you survive, you will be a full member of our noble guard."

"This is so exciting- wait, what do you mean if I survive?!"

"The Chaos Demon has been freed. With him loose, Equestria is far more dangerous than it has ever been. If he catches you, he will kill you. And his dark actions have reawakened what the Princesses tried so hard to prevent. Beware, little filly, beware."

"That is not reassuring!"

"My dear little Noctis, I am oath-bound to tell the truth, no matter how cruel it may be. You are strong for your age, and clever, but if you are not cautious, you will not survive."


"Shall we leave, little one? I will guide you to the Everfree, but then you are on your own. Your mission is to simply survive the next three nights and three days alone in the wild without any extra supplies."

"But why?"

"If you manage to live through that forest, with all its monsters, bandits, poisonous plants, and predators, you can survive anything."

As she speaks, Nightshade takes a small knife out of her saddlebag and gives it to Noctis.

"This blade," continues the captain, "as well as one first aid kit, one canteen, and one saddlebag, are all you can have on your journey."

"Thank you for your faith in me," replies Noctis, taking the blade.

"You are welcome. Now come, we've much to do."

"As you wish."

Nightshade leads the way out.

"See where the moon is now, Noctis?"

"Yes- it's just starting to rise."

"To make your way home, you must follow the moon when the time comes. As you know, the moon rises in the direction of Equestria compared to the Wildlands."


"Also, you can tell time by the moon, yes?"

"Of course!"

"Good. Remember, most large predators are active at night, and the later it is, the more there are. And at dusk and dawn, there are still other kinds of predators loose. Make sure your shelter is strong."

"I will."

The two continue their journey in silence, until they get to the Everfree.

"Are you ready, Noctis?"

"I think so."

"Then go into the woods. We will be awaiting your return."


"One more thing," says Nightshade, grabbing Noctis's tail.

Noctis turns to face her.


The older bat pony doesn't answer right away, instead she bows her head a moment, then nuzzles Noctis on top of the head. Then she holds Noctis still and grooms her for several minutes.

"Nightshade, why-"

"Shh, consider this a final farewell, in case you don't return." The older mare is trying to hold back tears.

"Th-thank you..."

"You are welcome. Good luck, my little one, and may Luna protect you."

Nightshade heads back to the barracks, not daring to look back, and Noctis heads into the dark woods.

I'm alone. And scared! But I have to ignore the fear- I need to find shelter before something tries to kill me!

Noctis pricks up her ears and sniffs the air, on peak alert for any form of danger.

Nothing so far, but I smell dead wood nearby- maybe a hollow log or tree? If it's big enough I can take shelter there...

She follows the scent, and it leads her to a huge half-hollow tree.

I hear the river somewhat nearby- far enough to be safe from flooding, but near enough to get water when I'm thirsty. Yes, this will be my shelter.

She uses her knife to carve a certain rune for protection in the tree, marking it as hers and hopefully keeping her somewhat safe.

But the Everfree is wild, unpredictable... will rune magic work here? Or any magic other than pure wild magic? Oh well, no time to worry about that now. I need to find food.

The young bat pony leaves her chosen shelter and travels toward the sound of water.

They say good-tasting plants grow by rivers. Maybe I can find some. But I better stay on guard...

She pricks her ears higher and flattens her wings close to her sides, making herself smaller and thus a more difficult target.